Intro by Skip Cohen
It's "Mirrorless Mark" Monday, and my buddy Mark Toal is back with a terrific way to expand your skill set and make some of your work look different. Mark's taken one of his older LUMIX cameras and had it converted to shoot infrared.
At a time when so many of you are working hard to make our work look different, infrared adds a dimension of drama and fine art to your portfolio. Plus, it's fun to shoot in infrared - remember that word "fun?" It's one of those very special words too often lost in business today.
Mark chose one of his favorite infrared images for his episode of "Why?" a year and a half ago. If you'd like to hear him talk more about infrared and that image, the very short podcast is just a click away.
Mark's never without a LUMIX camera. Check out more of his images and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.
by Mark Toal
A few years ago, it was time to retire one of my favorite Panasonic cameras, the LUMIX GX7. The GX7 fit my hand perfectly, and the image quality was beautiful, but as it always happens, another camera caught my eye. I didn’t want to part with the GX7 so my friend, Joe Farace, suggested I have it converted to shoot infrared.
The first question people ask is if the camera can now shoot in the dark? The short answer is no. The conversion involves removing the filter on the camera’s sensor that blocks infrared light and replaces it with one that lets in some infrared. For more details and examples of the different conversions check out the site of the company where I sent mine to be converted, Life Pixel. There are a lot of companies that do the conversion. You can find more choices using Google. Keep in mind that once the camera is converted, you can’t go back.
I chose the 720nm conversion because I liked the black and white look. The first thing you’ll notice is that grass and leaves on trees all turn white. My favorite effect is how it makes skies much more dramatic as you can see in these two images I took in Tucson, Arizona just a few weeks ago.
The image that comes out of the camera won’t look this dramatic. I apply a filter effect to the image using Nik Silver Efex on my computer or the App Snapseed on my cell phone or tablet. You can get a similar effect using Lightroom, Photoshop or a similar program. There are a lot of tutorials online with tips for processing IR images.
Another great thing about infrared photography is that IR loves mid-day light when normal photos can look dull and lifeless. If you have an old digital camera sitting on the shelf think about converting it to Infrared and open your eyes to a whole new world of photography.
Images copyright Mark Toal. All rights reserved.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.